Posts Tagged 'Gardening'

Rurality in the News

Some of this blog’s overarching themes have been all over the news lately:


*For the record, a “Western Diet” was defined as one that relies heavily on takeaway foods, processed meats, red meat, high fat dairy products, and confectionery.


The First Thing About Boulder Is

Everybody has gardens. The terraces of all the apartment buildings are covered in potted plants, hanging herb gardens, and prayer flags (don’t get me started on that last one). And the adorable downtown houses are practically drowning in flower-tangles.

But alright, here’s what’s been nagging at the back of my brain, ever since I got here: where is all the water coming from?

In Virginia, we’re supposed to be a lush, humid, water- and flower-soaked region. And it’s sad (even a little heartbreaking, to me) that more Southerners and Appalachians don’t have the free time or resources to have their own gardens. But here in Boulder, this is land of forest-fires, droughts and flash floods. I don’t want to feel guilty every time I turn on the faucet– but I also don’t want to be building a life that is unnatural to the landscape. That would be counterproductive to everything that is healthy, for my own life and for the land where I’m settling in. Not to mention, counterproductive to this blog

So. It turns out, we’re in the Boulder Creek watershed, which was irrigated by early settlers during the Gold Rush. Given that the city mostly evolved out of the ultimate capitalist-cutthroat phenomenon of the American West, it makes sense that water rights have had a tumultuous history in this city. I particularly like (ahem) the early motto, “you can fool around with my wife, but not with my water rights.” A little problematic, you know.

But here’s the cool thing: Boulder receives about 40% of its water supply from Arapaho Glacier. This is one privilege that I get here– no need to worry about water quality. That tap water comes straight from the snowcaps, dude!

Apparently, you can also hike up a certain mountain here and pay a quarter to fill up a jug from the ice-cold source itself. I’ll let you know when I accomplish that feat (It may be a while).

Urban Window Farming

I was tipped off to this from Tiny Choices, a great blog about the big effect of small decisions.

So Window Farming is a way to grow your own food in small spaces, when you don’t have land. And not only this is friggin’ cool, but these are some of the most beautiful windows I’ve ever seen:

"Britta's Windowfarm - Outside View" from Flickr

“Elf Hats,” My Sister Calls Them


I love baby tomatoes! They look like they’re wearing hats.


An “about to be” tomato

Summer in Fujicolor

What has my life been lately– a few low-internet, high-humidity months:

Blessed. Privileged. Hard work.

Saturated in history and dirt.


A Roll of Film Developed

These were taken a couple weeks ago at the farm. The large contraption that appears in several of the images is an industrial water pump (or, at least, the hose)– a project that took up several days for me and my farming partner.

I made those!

Jamie. That's actually a river, twenty feet below.



In conclusion,

I love Virginia, especially Virginia farmland.

Rural culture is undervalued, and under attack.

Nonetheless, heirloom tomatoes are still shockingly delicious.

When growing food, one often also grows healthy in the heart.



"Bosui / spring onions" by Plutone on Flickr

I’ve been cooking a lot lately. The dorm-kitchen situation at Kenyon College is abysmal, so summers are my time to indulge in real recipes, food experiments, and fresh produce feasts. The past two summers I’ve worked in farms and gardens, so I’ve been lucky to have access to fresh food– it takes real effort to screw up a meal when the vegetables are just minutes out of the ground. 

My boss invested in a fancy ice cream/gelato maker, so my first culinary luxury was vanilla ice cream. According to my well-loved copy of The Joy of Cooking, ice cream can be made from a syrup base or a custard base– the former is known as Philadelphia style, and the latter is French style. I made the ice cream from a custard base, which turned out… how do you say… delicious. I would have taken pictures, but, um, I ate it instead.

Also recently on the menu has been vegetarian chili, savory and sweet crepes, strawberry ice cream, sweet potato fries, and everything involving spring onions. 

There are few things more satisfying than having a job like this






















…which produces good eats.

Art adventures, literary hangovers, rural politics and other songs worth sharing.

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